Jewish Religions and the Prospect of Dissent
By Gilad Atzmon
December 31, 2015
“The Jewish religion is a religion of Mitzvoth (commandments) and without this religious idiom, the Jewish religion doesn’t exist at all.”
~ Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz
While Islam and Christianity can be easily understood as belief systems, Judaism actually defies the notion of belief all together. Judaism is an obedience regulative system. The Judaic universe is ruled by ‘mitzvoth’ (commandment), a set of 613 precepts and directives ordered by God. In opposition to Christianity and Islam that build from spiritual and heavenly precepts in worship to a transcendental God, the Judaic subject subscribes to strict earthly and material observance. While the Islamo-Christian is wrapped in God’s loving and the spirituality of the sublime and divinity, the follower of Judaism is judged by his or her ability to adhere to hundreds of rigorous earthly orders.
A brief look at the Judaic Sabbath common prayer reveals the nature of Judaism as an obedience regulatory system. As we can see below, in Judaism, even God-loving is not an involuntary act:
“You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart,?with all your soul, and with all your might.?Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day.
…Thus you shall remember to observe all My commandments?and to be holy to your God.?I am Adonai, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God:?I am Adonai your God.”
(Common Prayers for Shabbat Evening From Deuteronomy and Numbers)
For the Jew, belief and God-loving are not subject to either rational discretion or spiritual impulse. God loving, as we read above, is a strict “charge”, an order. But if Judaism is not a belief system, what kind of system is it? Does the Judaic subject believe in anything at all?
The answer is yes: the Jew believes in ‘The Jews’ and the Jews believe in ‘The Jew.’ This mode of mutual affirmation establishes a solid and forceful tribal continuum that serves the collective as well as the singular subject. Accordingly, the subject adheres to the collective and vice versa. In pragmatic terms, the Jew sticks to the ‘chosen people’ and, together the ‘chosenites’ uphold a collective sense of choseness.
In Judaism, ‘choseness’ is the belief that the Jewish people were singularly chosen to enter into a covenant with God. For religious Jews, being chosen is realised as a duty. According to Judaic belief, the Jews have been placed on earth to fulfill a certain purpose. This purpose is bestowed upon the Jews and they pass it from father to son.
In reality, the first Jews invented a God who chose them over all other people. For some reason this God is occasionally cruel, often non-ethical and as if this were not enough, not exactly a nice father. The Jewish God doesn’t even allow his people to call him by name. One may wonder what led the first Jews to invent such a horrid father figure. One may further question what led the Jews to sustain their ‘relationship’ with such an obnoxious father. The answer is surprisingly simple. They don’t.
The Jews don’t believe in God, they are observant of God. They believe in themselves- the Jews believe in ‘The Jew’ and vice versa. Within this peculiar troubled family affair, the Jew is free to dump God, as an author can freely re-write or at least re-shape his or her own narrative. But the Jew can never dump the Jews as much as the Jews can’t allow ‘The Jew’ to go free. And what about God, can he be emancipated, can he choose another people? Certainly not. Unlike the Jew who is free to dump God while clinging to a Jewish identity, the Jewish God is merely a Jewish protagonist, he can’t go anywhere, he is stuck with ‘his’ chosen people forever.
Choseness, so it seems, is hardly a heavenly gift, it is in fact a curse. It confines the Jew in a realm of self-imposed commandment and materiality. Instead of beauty, holiness and the pursuit of the divine and the sublime, the rabbinical Jew is left with an earthly obedience scheme that is sustained by a rigid tribal setting. ‘The Jew’ and ‘The Jews’ are bound in a set of mutual affirmations in which God serves an instrumental role.
Some may rightly argue that this spectacular bond between the Jews and ‘The Jew’ is essential for an understanding of the dichotomy between Judaic tribalism and the universal appeal of Islamo-Christian beliefs.
The Judaic crude intolerance towards dissent serves as an example of the above. Throughout their history, Jews have proven themselves hostile toward their nonconformists; now we are ready to grasp why. For the Islamo-Christian, secularization, for instance, entails a rejection of a transcendental affair. But for the rabbinical Judaic subject, failure to conform constitutes a rejection of the Jews. It interferes crudely with the fragile relationship between ‘The Jew’ and the Jews. It shatters the self-affirmation mechanism. While in the case of Christianity and Islam dumping God suggests turning one’s back on a remote supernatural entity, in the case of Judaism, such an act is interpreted as a disbelief in the tribe.
This interpretation may help illuminate Jesus’ plight. It may explain the reasoning behind the brutal Rabbinical Herem (excommunication) against Spinoza and Uriel Da Costa. And it also explains why the secular and the so-called ‘progressive’ Jew is equally obnoxious towards dissent or any form of criticism from within. If Judaism is not a belief system but rather a system of obedience regulation, then Jewish identity politics is merely an extension of the above regulatory philosophy.
Jews often drop their God, simply to invent a different God who ‘facilitates’ subscription to a new regulatory system. The new system, like the old outlines a new set of strict commandments, a manner of speech and rigorous boundaries of ‘kosher’ conduct.
In the beginning of the 20th century, for instance, Bolshevism appealed to many Eastern European Jews. It provided a sense of self-righteousness in addition to regulating a strict form of obedience. As we know, it didn’t take long for Bolshevism to mature into a genocidal doctrine that made Old Testament barbarism look like a juvenile fairytale. The Holocaust, that seems to be the most popular Jewish religion at present, may be the ultimate and final stage in Jewish historical development. According to the Holocaust religion, ‘God died in Auschwitz.’ Within the context of the Holocaust religion, ‘The Jew’ is the new Jewish God. The Holocaust religion has finally united ‘The Jew’ and the Jews into a self-sufficient comprehensive and independent ‘God-less’ religious narrative. Both were about to be eradicated. But, not only were they both saved: they have prevailed and each did so independently. In the Holocaust religion, Jews are both victims and oppressors – they have transformed slavery into empowerment and they did it all alone, in spite of being dumped by their treacherous God. The Holocaust religion, like Judaism, prescribes a manner of speech and a strict set of commandments. Most crucially, like more traditional Judaism, it is totally and disgracefully intolerant toward dissent.
Due to the lack of a divine transcendental entity, Jewish religions have always regarded criticism as rejection of the tribe. Jewish religions, whether Judaism, Bolshevism or Holocaust, are equally intolerant towards criticism and dissent. Jewish religions treat opposition as a vile attempt at ‘delegitimization’ on the verge of genocidal inclination.
Jewish religions can be defined as different templates that facilitate a sense of choseness. They affirm a bond between an imaginary marginal ‘collective’ and a phantasmal ‘archetype’: the Bolshevists and ‘The Bolshevik’, the Survivours and ‘The Survivour’, the Jews and ‘The Jew,’ and so on. The bond between the collective and the idea of an archetypical singularity is always maintained by a set of rigid commandments, a correct manner of speech, some strict regulatory guidelines for behavior and vile opposition to dissent.
Tragically enough, intolerance of dissent has become a universal Western political symptom. Incidentally, Christianity, Islam, religion and divinity in general are also under attack within the context of contemporary Western discourse. Is this a symptom of the Jerusalemification of our Western universe? Is the emergence of the tyranny of political correctness a coincidence? And if we are becoming Jews, is there any room for the hope that our universe may, at some stage, embrace a universal ethos once again? Can we once again believe in something? Or do we have to wait for a new Jesus figure to resurrect our trust in the human spirit and humanity in general? Or have we been re-designed to self-destruct as soon as we come close to such a lucid awareness?
 As God himself suggests in the Book of Genesis: “And I (God) will establish My covenant between Me and you (the Jews) and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” (Book of Genesis, Chapter 17).
Dear Radical Readers and Friends of Freedom of Speech Everywhere,
On behalf of my wife Shastah and myself I would like to thank everyone who has been standing with RadicalPress.com over the past year and longer in my ongoing struggle to defend the legal right of all Canadians, as stated in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to be able to express their thoughts and viewpoints on the Internet and in other media without fear of being attacked and persecuted by the government of Canada via the use of Sec. 319(2) of the Criminal Code.
This past year saw the case move to the actual stage of trial which commenced in the B.C. Supreme Court, Quesnel, Canada on October 26, 2015 and ran until November 12, 2015 when the jury of 8 women and 4 men found me guilty in Count 1 and not guilty in Count 2 of the identical charge that I did “willfully promote hatred against an identifiable group, people of the Jewish religion or ethnic origin, contrary to Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code.”
As a result of this peculiar and strange ruling the stage has been now set for the continuation of my Charter challenge to Sec. 319(2) in the coming new year. The time when this challenge will occur is yet to be determined but the week beginning January 25, 2016 will see a date fixed for the Constitutional argument to be heard.
In the event that my Charter argument fails to convince the Supreme Court that Sec. 319(2) is in violation of Sec. 2b of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms then I will then have the right to appeal the decision of the court on Count 1 that was handed down November 12, 2015.
There were a number of extenuating circumstances that arose during the actual trial which will, of necessity, come to the forefront in the appeal and portend a strong case for having the decision tossed out and a not guilty decision rendered. Space here doesn’t allow for any elaboration on the process but the new evidence will be forthcoming in the new year.
As of today I am still raising money in order to purchase the transcripts from the trial. Not only does the legal process in this country unfairly work against the individual through unjust legislation such as Sec. 319(2) of the criminal code but when forced to defend oneself against such specious forms of “thought crime” laws the costs incurred are then further exacerbated by the state in the form of the victim having to pay exorbitant costs for the transcripts of the proceedings in order to continue on with their defence.
As it now stands the transcripts will cost me $7,500.00 to purchase from the sole contractor to the Attorney General’s office in B.C. JCWord Assist Ltd. The amount of support and funding for this onerous and ridiculously unfair process of procuring the transcripts has been overwhelmingly positive and to date we have already raised over $7,000.00 toward this end. I am deeply appreciative and humbled by this generosity on the part of supporters world-wide who’ve found it in their hearts to help me out. The transcripts are vital to my defence and will prove extremely useful in the days ahead as this battle to retain our right to freedom of speech continues to unfold in the Supreme Court of Canada.
The transcripts though are not the only expenses that I face and therefore I am forced to continue to ask for financial assistance and will likely do so until the process wends its way to a final outcome. It’s for this reason that I must therefore append my donation “shingle” to this Christmas greeting as well.
As the new year approaches I am filled with hope, strength and an unwavering determination to carry on with this fight until the odious sections of our legal system that make it a criminal act to speak one’s mind are defeated and repealed once and for all.
The world today stands at the brink of despair and hope. Never has there been a more urgent time in our history for the people to be able to stand up and speak out for their basic human rights in order to defend their nation against the incredibly powerful and deceptive actions of their respective governments and media; political bodies and complicit agencies who have shown themselves, over and over, to be working against the fundamental rights of the individual in order to broaden the scope of their control and propaganda now being forced upon the minds and hearts of people around the globe all at the behest of special interest groups who wield, altogether, untold amounts of unwarranted power and influence over nation states worldwide.
2016 bodes well in terms of providing the impetus to speak out and be heard. Let us pray that vigilance and discernment will be the watchwords in the days ahead and that we will retain our basic rights and continue to live freely and in peace and harmony with all of humanity.
May God bless the peacemakers and all who strive for justice and truth!
The Radical Press
Canada’s Radical News Network
“Digging to the root of the issues since 1998”
Donations can be made online via my GoGetFunding site located at http://gogetfunding.com/canadian-publisher-faces-jail-for-political-writings/ or else by sending cash, cheques or Money Orders to the following postal address. Please make sure that any cheques or Money Orders are made out to – Arthur Topham – and sent to:
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T’is Some Days Before Christmas (2013)
by Robin Mathews
A lighthearted, rollicking, fun-loving Yuletide verse for Canadians.
T’is some days before Christmas, and all through The House
The PM’s voice drones. He’s attempting to douse
The things being said there that all know are true
And replace them with rancid and festering brew.
His MPs are trained seals, with nary a brain –
“Elected” there by voters, completely in vain.
His Office is full of appointees with might –
All ‘Truthful’ And ‘Honest’, ‘Upholding The Wright’.
They strong-arm whoever might step out of line.
Or they bribe (if it works). For all think that’s just fine.
They’re the worst of the rot in a system decayed –
Betraying, for pay, ‘the people’ (by whom they are paid).
None tells the PM when a bribe is “to go”,
(Though Nigel, it seems, thought he had to do so),
For our PM has set up a dishonest shop
Where the crimes go ahead when he doesn’t say “Stop”.
With a memorized script, and dead, empty eyes ,
With a Robocall voice that denies and denies,
To a lobotomized chorus of cheering and cries –
The PM pulls wool over NOBODY’S eyes.
On Duncan! On Aglukkak! Answer the call!
On Fantino! On James Moore! On Findlay! On all!
To the sewer! To the sleaze-pit. There’s no further to fall!
You chose Duffy, Pam Wallin, and poor Patrick Brazeau
To bring in, for payoffs, much partisan dough.
[What they spent (on the side) for their comfort and ease
Was okay while they proved how much they could please.]
Which is why, for Wallin, he stood by her side –
Reporting he’d checked out the True Spending Guide
And her spending’s appropriate [hoping his bold,
Blocking action would STOP every hot question – COLD].
But, then, Party Grassroots stirred up such a big fuss
The PM threw all three of them under the bus.
Orders flew to the Senate: “Act now as we say.
Betray them. Besmirch them. Just get them AWAY”.
That’s not a new game – and hardly surprise
As we watch him at work (with our wondering eyes).
He praises the troops and calls them our heroes.
But when they get home, he treats them as zeroes.
Budget payouts for veterans are plainly unfair –
As vets grow more and more sick, and sink deep in despair.
Lost to friends, and to families, to children, and wives,
They reach out … a last time – to take their own lives.
‘Veterans Affairs’ turns away, and refuses to count
Suicides by our vets – as they steadily mount!
[We suspect he tells all his Corporate friends
There’s more money for THEM as each veteran life ends!]
For he loves Corporations. They ‘stick it’ to workers,
Who, for him, are – without doubt – unConservative shirkers.
So he pays U.S. Steel, GM … and many more
To show our own people the Corporate door,
While their jobs and their every ‘secret-of-skill’
Go to some U.S labour camp over the hill.
He slashes and burns, and he attacks all the way
Every sign of free speech, for he wants single sway.
Obsessed with Control – and with hammer in hand,
He smashes and smashes all over the land.
We’ve watched his sick Party move deep into crime
To steal elections … more than one time.
He knew nothing, he says, when in 2006
A Con Careful Plan worked an Election Fraud Fix.
His Conservatives, lying and fighting in court,
Steered Stephen, by crooked ways, bent, into port.
And the Robocall fraud in 2011
Was sent to his Party from Mafia Heaven.
Lies, Fraud, Dirty Tricks, and Despicable Acts
Were used by his Cons to destroy voting facts.
They gained Dirty Power beyond Stephen’s dreams,
And they did it, remember, by CRIMINAL means.
Canadians must know – as Christmas draws near –
That there’s more – a lot more – that they really must fear.
With John Baird and the rest he will build Fascist Truth
And support it with thugs, to be called ‘Harper Youth’.
On Kenney! on Poilievre! on Ambrose and Raitt!
On Flaherty! on Clement! – Don’t ever go straight!
Your task – it is clear – is to shape this nation’s fate
As a jail-filled, truncheon-ruled, new Police State.
[Unless we all gather and challenge … and FIGHT,
There’ll be no: “HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.”]
NOVEMBER 28, 2013 e-newsletter
No parent should worry about having enough money to feed a child.
Through our community and family services, The Salvation Army helped 1.8 million people last year with food, clothing, shelter and other practical assistance. We couldn’t have done this without your support. Thank you.
“Every donation, no matter how big or small, makes a difference in the lives of those in need,” says Commissioner Brian Peddle, Territorial Commander for The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda. “Thanks to our generous donors, The Salvation Army is helping to restore hope and dignity to the most vulnerable in society.”
When you give to a Salvation Army Christmas kettle, your money stays locally to help families and individuals in need. Donations raised enable The Salvation Army to provide toys for children at Christmas, as well as warm meals, clothing, financial assistance, substance abuse recovery and other social services throughout 2014.
Our FilltheKettle.com website makes it easy for people to donate online to a Christmas kettle in their area. Through the website, individuals and groups can also host an online kettle and invite family and friends to donate.
The Salvation Army is extremely grateful for the generosity of our donors and volunteers. For additional information about this year’s campaign and how you can help, visit www.salvationarmy.ca.
Runners and walkers from 39 cities across Canada will join together on December 7th for the annual Santa Shuffle 5k Fun Run and 1K Elf Walk.
Proceeds from the 23rd annual event will be used in local communities to help The Salvation Army provide a sense of hope and dignity for those in need.
It’s not too late to register for this year. Visit www.santashuffle.ca.
2 Overlea Blvd,
Toronto, Ontario, M4H 1P4
By Jehanzeb Dar
Because of modern alarmist reactions to the word “Palestine,” many non-Arabs and non-Muslims take offense when it is argued that Jesus was a Palestinian (peace be upon him).
Jesus’ ethnicity, skin color, and culture often accompany this conversation, but few people are willing to acknowledge the fact he was non-European. A simple stroll down the Christmas aisle will show you the dominant depiction of Jesus: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white man.
Islamophobia and anti-Arab propaganda have conditioned us to view Palestinians as nothing but heartless suicide bombers, “terrorists,” and “enemies of freedom and democracy.” Perpetual media vilification and demonization of Palestinians, in contrast to the glorification of Israel, obstructs us from seeing serious issues such as the Palestinian refugee crisis, the victims of Israel’s atrocious three-week assault on Gaza during the winter of 2008-2009, the tens of thousands of homeless Palestinians, and many other struggles that are constantly addressed by human rights activists around the world.
To speak from the perspective of the Palestinians, especially in casual non-Arab and non-Muslim settings, generates controversy because of the alignment between Palestinians and violent stereotypes. So, how could Jesus belong to a group of people that we’re taught to dehumanize?
When I’ve spoken to people about this, I’ve noticed the following responses: “No, Jesus was a Jew,” or “Jesus is not Muslim.” The mistake isn’t a surprise to me, but it certainly is revealing. Being a Palestinian does not mean one is Muslim or vice versa. Prior to the brutal and unjust dispossession of indigenous Palestinians during the creation of the state of Israel, the word “Palestine” was a geographic term applied to Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, and Palestinian Jews. Although most Palestinians are Muslim today, there is a significant Palestinian Christian minority who are often overlooked, especially by the mainstream Western media.
That dominant narrative not only distorts and misrepresents the Palestinian struggle as a religious conflict between “Muslims and Jews,” but consequentially pushes the lives of Palestinian Christians into “non-existence.” That is, due to the media’s reluctance to report the experiences and stories of Palestinian Christians, it isn’t a surprise when white Americans are astonished by the fact that Palestinian and Arab Christians do, in fact, exist. One could argue that the very existence of Palestinian Christians is threatening, as it disrupts the sweeping and overly-simplistic “Muslim vs. Jew” Zionist narrative. To learn about many Palestinian Christians opposing Israeli military occupation, as well as Jews who oppose the occupation, is to reveal more voices, perspectives, and complexities to a conflict that has been immensely portrayed as one-sided, anti-Palestinian, and anti-Muslim.
Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
Yeshua (Jesus’ real Aramaic name) was born in Bethlehem, a Palestinian city in the West Bank and home to one of the largest Palestinian Christian communities. The Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest churches in the world, marks the birthplace of Jesus and is sacred to both Christians and Muslims. While tourists from the around the world visit the site, they are subject to Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks. The Israeli construction of the West Bank barrier also severely restricts travel for local Palestinians. In April of 2010, Israeli authorities barred Palestinian Christians from entering Jerusalem and visiting the Church of Holy Sepulchre during Easter. Yosef Zabaneh, a Palestinian Christian merchant in Ramallah, said: “The Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank doesn’t distinguish between us, but treats all Palestinians with contempt.”
Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem
Zabaneh’s comments allude to the persistent dehumanization of Palestinians, as well as the erasure of Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims. By constantly casting Palestinians as the villains, even the term “Palestine” becomes “evil.” There is refusal to recognize, for example, that the word “Palestine” was used as early as the 5th century BCE by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. John Bimson, author of “The Compact Handbook of Old Testament Life,” acknowledges the objection to the use of “Palestine”:
The term ‘Palestine’ is derived from the Philistines. In the fifth century BC the Greek historian Herodotus seems to have used the term Palaistine Syria (= Philistine Syria) to refer to the whole region between Phoenicia and the Lebanon mountains in the north and Egypt in the south… Today the name “Palestine” has political overtones which many find objectionable, and for that reason some writers deliberately avoid using it. However, the alternatives are either too clumsy to be used repeatedly or else they are inaccurate when applied to certain periods, so “Palestine” remains a useful term…
Deliberately avoiding the use of the name “Palestine” not only misrepresents history, but also reinforces anti-Palestinian racism as acceptable. When one examines the argument against Jesus being a Palestinian, one detects a remarkable amount of hostility aimed at both Palestinians and Muslims. One cannot help but wonder, is there something threatening about identifying Jesus as a Palestinian? Professor Jack D. Forbes writes about Jesus’ multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment:
When the Romans came to dominate the area, they used the name Palestine. Thus, when Yehoshu’a [Jesus] was born, he was born a Palestinian as were all of the inhabitants of the region, Jews and non-Jews. He was also a Nazarene (being born in Nazareth) and a Galilean (born in the region of Galilee)… At the time of Yehoshu’a’s birth, Palestine was inhabited by Jews-descendants of Hebrews, Canaanites, and many other Semitic peoples-and also by Phoenicians, Syrians, Greeks, and even Arabs.
Despite these facts, there are those who use the color-blind argument: “It does not matter what Jesus’ ethnicity or skin color was. It does not matter what language he spoke. Jesus is for all people, whether you’re black, white, brown, yellow, etc.” While this is a well-intentioned expression of inclusiveness and universalism, it misses the point.
When we see so many depictions of Jesus as a Euro-American white man, the ethnocentrism and race-bending needs to be called out. In respect to language, for instance, Neil Douglas-Klotz, author of “The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus,” emphasizes the importance of understanding that Jesus spoke Aramaic, not English, and that his words, as well as his worldview, must be understood in light of Middle Eastern language and spirituality. Douglas-Klotz provides an interesting example which reminds me of the rich depth and meaning of Arabic, Urdu, and Farsi words, especially the word for “spirit”:
Whenever a saying of Jesus refers to spirit, we must remember that he would have used an Aramaic or Hebrew word. In both of these languages, the same word stands for spirit, breath, air, and wind. So ‘Holy Spirit’ must also be ‘Holy Breath.’ The duality between spirit and body, which we often take for granted in our Western languages falls away. If Jesus made the famous statement about speaking or sinning against the Holy Spirit (for instance, in Luke 12:10), then somehow the Middle Eastern concept of breath is also involved.
Certainly, no person is superior to another based on culture, language, or skin color, but to ignore the way Jesus’ whiteness has been used to subjugate and discriminate against racial minorities in the West and many other countries is to overlook another important aspect of Jesus’ teachings: Love thy neighbor as thyself. Malcolm X wrote about white supremacists and slave-owners using Christianity to justify their “moral” and “racial superiority” over blacks. In Malcolm’s own words, “The Holy Bible in the White man’s hands and its interpretations of it have been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of non-white human beings.” Throughout history, whether it was in Jerusalem, Spain, India, Africa, or in the Americas, white so-called “Christians” cultivated a distorted interpretation of religion that was compatible with their racist, colonialist agenda.
And here we are in the 21st century where Islamophobia (also stemming from racism because the religion of Islam gets racialized) is on the rise; where people calling themselves “Christian” fear to have a black president; where members of the KKK and anti-immigration movements behave as if Jesus were an intolerant white American racist who only spoke English despite being born in the Middle East. It is astonishing how so-called “Christians” like Ann Coulter call Muslims “rag-heads” when in actuality, Jesus himself would fit the profile of a “rag-head,” too. As would Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and the rest of the Prophets (peace be upon them all). As William Rivers Pitt writes:
The ugly truth which never even occurs to most Americans is that Jesus looked a lot more like an Iraqi, like an Afghani, like a Palestinian, like an Arab, than any of the paintings which grace the walls of American churches from sea to shining sea. This was an uncomfortable fact before September 11. After the attack, it became almost a moral imperative to put as much distance between Americans and people from the Middle East as possible. Now, to suggest that Jesus shared a genealogical heritage and physical similarity to the people sitting in dog cages down in Guantanamo is to dance along the edge of treason.
Without acknowledging Jesus as a native Middle Eastern person — a Palestinian — who spoke Aramaic — a Semitic language that is ancestral to Arabic and Hebrew — the West will continue to view Islam as a “foreign religion.” Hate crimes and discriminatory acts against Muslims, Arabs, and others who are perceived to be Muslim will persist. They will still be treated as “cultural outsiders.” Interesting enough, Christianity and Judaism are never considered “foreign religions,” despite having Middle Eastern origins, like Islam. As Douglas-Klotz insists, affirming Jesus as a native Middle Eastern person “enables Christians to understand that the mind and message” of Jesus arises from “the same earth as have the traditions of their Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers.”
Jesus would not prefer one race or group of people over another. I believe he would condemn today’s demonization and dehumanization of the Palestinian people, as well as the misrepresentations of him that only fuel ignorance and ethnocentrism. As a Muslim, I believe Jesus was a prophet of God, and if I were to have any say about the Christmas spirit, it would be based on Jesus’ character: humility, compassion, and Love. A love in which all people, regardless of ethnicity, race, culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation are respected and appreciated.
And in that spirit, I wish you a merry Christmas. Alaha Natarak (Aramaic: God be with you).
The author blogs at Muslim Reverie. He recently wrote a chapter in “Teaching Against Islamophobia” on the demonization of Muslims and Arabs in mainstream American comics.
Damascus Street Notes… Political Grinches Stealing Christmas From Palestinian and Syrian Refugees by FRANKLIN LAMB
Damascus Street Notes…
Political Grinches Stealing Christmas From Palestinian and Syrian Refugees
by FRANKLIN LAMB
Church of Notre Dame, Damascus.
Church officials in Damascus advanced the hour of last night’s traditional Christmas Eve midnight service to 6 pm because few Damascenes’ venture out past sunset these days. The reasons include ubiquitous checkpoints, security fears and the fact that there are few taxis and no buses around. Plus most shops and cafes close early and the thuds and whining of artillery and bomb blasts from this ancient city’s suburbs tend to sound more menacing at night.
But that does not mean that Notre Dame and other churches in Damascus were not over-flowing with Christians and Muslims for Christmas Eve service, which has become an ecumenical event in this secular country where Syrian and Palestinian refugees of both faiths attended from Yarmouk camp and elsewhere. One Palestinian friend, who had been turned away at the Lebanese border at Maznaa just three days earlier, explained that his family was celebrating ” both the birth of Jesus Christ and the birth of the state of Palestine” referencing last month’s 130 to 8 UN General Assembly vote.
A bizarre Lebanese politically motivated assault on this well established Syrian-Palestinian-Muslim-Christian sisterhood caused unnecessary angst and in some cases unconscionable needless hardships during Christmas week. Some Lebanese politicians, apparently experiencing a memory lapse which made them forget how during the 2006 Israeli aggression, Syrians helped Lebanese refugees decided there were votes to be had in next year’s elections if they bashed the Syrian and Palestinians fleeing for their lives and seeking temporary refuge in brotherly Lebanon.
This observer distinctly recalls in mid-July 2006, crossing paths in the Internet supplied Business Center, at the Sheraton Hotel in Damascus, with an international team from the World Food Program. Led by some New Zealanders, the WFP team invited me to join them as they made a survey of Damascus area ‘refugee camps” for Lebanese who were arriving by the scores of thousands fleeing the Zionist aggression. There were long lines at the Mazaa and other border points.
It was an impressive sight. The Syrian government and the Syrian people, as well as private Syrian NGOs, to their eternal credit, gave vast and in many cases, lifesaving aid to the Lebanese, asking nothing in return. The aid we witnessed being distributed throughout Damascus and surrounding areas included food, cash, clothing, medical aid, schooling, and housing. Refuge was provided in public spaces, mosques, churches, private homes, and government buildings of all types as well as in cheap hotels near the Omayyad Mosque (formerly the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist) and the Old City. Rarely, as it was reported by the UN at the time, had one country done so much to help so many caught in crisis.
In a Machiavellian political move designed to create sectarian tensions in Lebanon, and to create more spillover from the Syrian crisis next door, one Lebanese Minister, and several like-minded politicians called for the closing the every Lebanese borders to Syrian and Palestinian refugees who have been fleeing for their lives. In a recent speech he gave on Lebanese Wine Day, reportedly after sampling a few glasses, the Minister declared: “When we say we don’t want Syrian and Palestinian refugees, it is because they take our place.” He added: “Don’t we not have enough Palestinians in Lebanon to let the rest of the refugee camps come to Lebanon too?”
The minister in question, is perhaps best known for “marrying up” politically and for his $ 1.3 million Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Coupe which he brags can reach a top speed of 253 mph around Mount Lebanon where he likes to drive it, and despite that it can drive at high speeds for only 12 minutes before all the fuel is gone. He explains to his neighbors that power is transmitted to the pavement via four-wheel-drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.
He is also known for his average intellect and this week won a prize from Lebanese political analyst Imani Hamad, contributor to Now Lebanon, for topping the list for the “Dumbest political statements made in 2012.” His prize winning statement was:
“A decision was made by a former prime minister that Beirut is allotted electricity for 21 hours. This is not acceptable. Beirut has to have the same amount of electricity as other areas that means only 12 hours.” Ms. Haddad explained the logic of the Minister who has been roundly criticized this year for not solving or lessening Lebanon’s electricity problems. Wrote she: “The Ministers logic? Why solve the problem when you can create another?”
According to Lebanese journalist, Qassem Qassem, writing in Al Akbar this week, “The Minister perhaps does not realize that the refugees did not come out of their volition to Lebanon’s camps, which are nothing but ghettoes thanks to his racist “patriotism” and that of his ilk.”
Perhaps as a student, the Minister was absent from school the day when his teacher in his sectarian school was explaining that the monks of St Maron, who founded the Church in Antioch by the Orontes River, were persecuted by the Monophysites but given sanctuary by the Syrians, including many Muslims.
The Progressive Socialist Party, led by Walid Jumblatt, and PSP member, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, insist that Lebanon will not close its borders to Syrian or Palestinians refugees fleeing violence in Syria. Minister Faour also said that he agreed with Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ashraf Dabbour, on a plan to facilitate the return of Palestinians fleeing from the Yarmouk camp in Damascus as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Dabbour said that there is a consensus among Palestinians in Lebanon to reject new refugee camps in the country, adding that all the Palestinians coming from Syria would return as soon as the crisis ends in the country.
This holiday season many in Yarmouk camp, despite their latest ordeal, are thinking of and praying for the quarter millions of their countrymen in Lebanon, who like themselves are still waiting to return to Palestine.
Several times over the past month this observer has heard from Palestinian refugees in Syria of their dismay at seeing the living conditions their countrymen are forced to endure in Lebanon, partly due the laws forbidding them the right to work or to own a home. No country has treated Palestinian refugees as well as Syria and no government, save the Zionist regime still occupying Palestine, has treated them worse than Lebanon. Several academic and NGO studies over the past three decades have documented this fact.
It is a 90 minute drive from Lebanon to Straight Street in Damascus, no doubt rather less in a Buggati Veyron 16.4. It was on Straight Street here in Damascus where in the year 34 c.e. the blind Paul of Tsarus is said to have regained his eyesight and devoted his life to helping those in need.
May the Minister, who appears to have lost his moral sight for the needs of others, come here to Damascus this Christmas season and walk along Straight Street and among the alleys of Yarmouk camp, to learn, perhaps even experience an epiphany, and thereby regain his sight and moral compass.
And in the name of the one whose birth and message and spirit are celebrated this season, may the Minister and his political allies cease sectarian incitements seeking cheap political advantage in this troubled region. And instead open his vacant real estate properties this Christmas to those for whom there is no room at the inn.
Palestine Civil Rights Campaign-Lebanon
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“Failure is not an option for the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, our only choice is success”
15 year old Hiba Hajj, PCRC volunteer, Ein el Helwe Palestinian Camp, Saida, Lebanon
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Well, it’s Ho! Ho! Ho! time again and the season to be jolly! 🙂
To say the least it’s been one very interesting, challenging year for myself, my dear wife and The Radical Press.
Seeing as how today is Christmas and a time to celebrate the birth of the Christ Consciousness within the Heart of Humanity I shan’t go into all the gory details surrounding the events of the past ten months or so. Suffice it to say that they have been enlightening in numerous ways as most things are these days.
I just want to take a few minutes to express my sincere thank you to all of the courageous, wonderful, outstanding, loving, kind, conscientious, generous people who have put their shoulder to the wheel in one form or another to help me in this struggle to retain the right to freedom of expression on the Internet in Canada. They know, as I well know, that we’re all in this together in one way or another and that what happens to me personally in terms of Regina’s attempt to jail me and silence my constitutional rights will affect every other Canadian who values the same ideals and principles that I do.
Those who are attempting to pull this caper off under the guise of their “Hate Crime” laws will never succeed. Everywhere we look nowadays we’re seeing the fabric of their endless lies unraveling before the public eye and no amount of “laws” designed to shield them from criticism will work. The Truth will come out one way or another.
While it’s not New Year’s eve yet I think I can safely say that given the political climate here in Canada at this point in time that 2013 does not bode well in terms change occurring in a peaceful, harmonious fashion. Just watching some of the IdleNoMore videos taken over the past few days by the Indigenous folks across Canada is a strong indication that at least one segment of Canadian society is now fed up with PM Harper and his treacherous, deceitful manner of selling off the nation to foreign interests. My hope is that the rest of the country will stand behind and join with the indigenous people and back their demands as well as the demands of the non-native population who are also fed up with all the lies.
For today though I wish the best of the Christmas season to everyone and pray that our hopes and dreams for a better world will only grow that much stronger during these quiet days preceding the New Year.
Blessings, Love and Peace to all,
Publisher & Editor
The Radical Press
“Digging to the root of the issues since 1998?
Dear Supporter of Freedom of Speech and an open and free Internet,
On behalf of my lovely and dear wife Shastah and myself I would like to wish all our friends and supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2013.
In terms of Freedom of Speech 2012 has been one helluva poor year that began that way in the merry month of May when I was arrested and jailed and all of my computers and firearms stolen from my home. All these illegal and immoral acts were committed by the RCMP and justified on the lies and false allegations of two of Canada’s worse serial complainers working for the Israeli Jewish lobby here in Canada.
Thanks to the willing assistance of Canada’s foremost advocate and fighter for freedom of speech in Canada lawyer Douglas Christie we have been giving the haters of free speech a good run for the taxpayer’s money that is being spent in order to close down my website and silence one of the last remaining voices on the Internet in Canada who has been battling for all Canadians so that we can freely express our opinions and views without fear of thought police and politically correct terrorists beating down our doors and arresting us for openly and honestly speaking our minds.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 19, 2012 I must appear in the Quesnel court house where the Crown will once again be trying to stop me from publishing and using the Internet to defend myself agains these unjust and untrue allegations. The outcome of tomorrow’s bail hearing is yet to be determined but, as always, one must expect the Crown to do its utmost to fulfill the wishes of the Jewish lobbyists who pull the strings of the BC Attorney General’s office, the Crown and the RCMP.
Whether I will be able to provide any additional updates after the hearing tomorrow is as yet unknown and so for that reason I wanted to post our Christmas wishes to all who have been watching and assisting us during these trying times.
Whatever happens tomorrow it will not be the end of this ongoing battle for freedom of speech. I have full trust that we will win this case in the end.
Wishing you all Peace, Love, Happiness and Joy over the Christmas season and beyond.
Publisher and Editor
The Radical Press
[Editor’s Note: For some inexplicable reason when I sent this Commentary and article to Jeff Rense yesterday I had it in my mind that George was a Jew. Imagine that! 🙂 Later on I figured out it was ol’ George’s ghost slipping in a good one on me. The result of such a faux paux on Rense.com is that one receives a whole lot of fan mail real quick! 🙂 I will likely put it all together into another article as time allows. In the interim I’ll leave it in the comments below. Incidentally, Jeff ran the Commentary but left Layla’s valuable article out. ??? ]
Preface to Layla’s article:
The late George Carlin, the Jewish comedian, once composed a skit on people and their Ã¢â‚¬Å“stuffÃ¢â‚¬Â which was rather revealing and comical.
The following commentary on Ã¢â‚¬Å“stuffÃ¢â‚¬Â isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t funny at all. In fact it takes the notion of Ã¢â‚¬Å“stuffÃ¢â‚¬Â to a new and somewhat existential, if not surrealistic level, combining sad humor with the deeply poignant realization that our western conceptions of Ã¢â‚¬Å“givingÃ¢â‚¬Â have become so commercialized and cheapened and exacerbated beyond all sense of proportion as to finally culminate in the very description and reality that Layla Anwar succinctly and with fierce clarity flashes before our eyes like a million Christmas lights exploding suddenly into briliant luminescence within a darkened and deep space of endless misery and shame.
This, in all humbleness, is the outcome of having lost the true meaning of Christmas and the essence of the message of the personage who exemplified the very inner qualities of Love, Peace, Brotherhood & Sisterhood, Compassion, Pity, Patience and Understanding that were symbolized in the teachings of the Christed One.
Instead, we have been led away from the Light of Christ Consciousness by the concerted efforts of the Zionist atheists of power, greed, narcissism and commercialism thus giving ourselves over to the selfish, self-serving and greed-driven forces of Mammon and Might over that which is moral and right.
This legacy of having lost our direction and fallen prey, both mentally and spiritually, to the forces of Darkness, Exploitation and Oppression of others has created for the West an unwanted gift of karmic debt that, according to the Will or Law of the Absolute, must be fulfilled.
It is now, on the cusp of changing leadership in the USA, that the impending nemesis is being exposed via the internet to all those who still believe that the new leadership will somehow bring renewed Ã¢â‚¬Å“hopeÃ¢â‚¬Â and general prosperity and Ã¢â‚¬Å“peaceÃ¢â‚¬Â to the West. Such cannot be the case as time and experience is bound to tell.
There is a relatively small group of awakened individuals who have been working overtime for the last decade or more doing their utmost to caution and awaken the sleeping masses to the imminent and starkly present danger that the West faces due to the actions of their respective governments. These cyberian heralds and prophets realize only too well the words of Jesus Christ and their import. When the Christed One said Ã¢â‚¬Å“do unto others as you would have them do unto youÃ¢â‚¬Â He was giving humanity a gift of invaluable wisdom; one that would and could have changed the worldÃ‚Â into a better place.
But instead Western humanityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leaders have deceived the people into believing that doing unto others by stealth, deception and murder and destruction of their sovereign nations would somehow reap immediate rewards and justify the most heinous of injustices.
Alas, such is not how the Cosmic Dance works. Hidden beneath the colorfulÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“HolidayÃ¢â‚¬Â wrappings (trappings?) that the West has bought for itself via war, violence, destruction and injustice is a gift that will undoubtedly begin to unravel in the West in the coming days ahead; one that will see a return of all that we have Ã¢â‚¬Å“givenÃ¢â‚¬Â to nations such as Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan and so on. It may be ten fold or a hundred fold depending upon the degree of suffering that has been meted out to the innocent souls who now live in a hell on Earth created by the Zionist-controlled West.
May God grant us the Grace to see and to hear and to understand what we have done to others and to begin making amends and changing our hearts and minds and ways to reflect that which the Christed One taught us two thousand years ago.
I would ask that you reflect upon the words of LaylaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. She is one of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reflections of Truth. Cherish her gift to you for it holds great meaning and import.
Jingle Bells and all that Stuff…
By Layla Anwar
December 24, 2008
Ah! Another Xmas…I don’t care much for Xmas or any other holiday. For me, it’s all the same…same thing, day in and day out…
I go through the motions and repeat the greetings with a fake smile, but I really don’t care much. Santa can go and stuff himself as far as am concerned. Well, he does not need to stuff himself, he is already stuffed…and so are you.
Seems you have all been under the taxidermist knife…stuffed to the brink, stuffed to your eyeballs, stuffed…stuffed with paper, cotton, rags, words…
And this Christmas you will stuff yourselves even more…with more stuff and more stuffing…Your husbands are stuffed, your wives are stuffed, your kids are stuffed, your homes are stuffed, your shops are stuffed, your brains are stuffed…you are stuffed.
Tomorrow you will probably stuff something and put it in an oven, a stuffed Xmas dinner, with your stiff, stuffed families, talking through your stiff upper lips about more stuff while you are stuffing your stomachs with food stuff. And beneath your stale breaths, you will huff and puff and say — Stuff it, I can’t wait till it’s over, this is too stuffy. Fuck that stuff.
And you will tear away at your wrapped boxes, and see more stuff, stuff you don’t need or don’t like, but hey it’s stuff and you can’t waste away stuff…
So you will stuff it away, amongst the other stuff that has accumulated in your stuffed closets and cupboards till the next stuffy Xmas and you will repeat it all over again…
God’s stuff is really absent, but you think you already know all that God stuff…
Meanwhile in Iraq, 5 million orphans have no stuff. They live in streets and run down orphanages. They are sold, bought, trafficked, molested, raped, turned into sex slaves and beggars…
They have no clean water to drink, no food to eat, no toys to play with, no books to read, no family to hug, no clothes and no shoes to wear, no blankets to cover them, no stuffed Santa to visit them, no electricity and no illuminated Xmas tree…
5 million Iraqi children turned into orphans because you believed stuff you were told and you acted upon that stuff…
5 million Iraqi orphans are your guarantee that you will have unlimited access to more stuff so you can stuff yourselves even more…
And here they are…5 million of them, in 5 years…
For them Xmas or no Xmas, it does not make a difference. For them, it’s the same thing, day in and day out…
They are of your own doing. They are the children, the little ones, you turned into diposable stuff…
So stuff them and stuff it and have a Merry stuffed Xmas.
Contact Layla Anwar: email@example.com
Painting : Iraqi female artist, Sabah Al-Majeed.